Most people who know me know that I’m a pretty major introvert. I was painfully shy growing up. Painfully. It literally burned my skin when an unwelcome blush would take over not only my face, but my entire body. It felt like a thousand little needles boring their way into my soul. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the physical manifestation of the hue was embarrassing, too. It would often strike without warning or reason (and still does, on occasion). Strangers would giggle in what I can only assume was charmed amusement and not hateful mockery, but it made the experience that much worse.
It’s an affliction I wish on no one. Well, maybe a few politicians, but no one I actually like!
As an introvert I have often felt misunderstood. So, for the sake of introverts everywhere, I’m sharing with you the top 3 things that I wish everyone knew about introverts:
- I’m not a snob. Everyone who ever gets to know me tells me that their first impression of me is that I’m snobby. Nope. I just avoid eye contact, conversations I haven’t been officially invited to, and have a huge personal space bubble. It’s not you, it’s me, and I know it. My painful awareness of my own social awkwardness doesn’t help. I’m not a snob. I’m just really, really uncomfortable around people I don’t know.
- Being around others is physically and mentally draining for me. Seriously. If I hang out with you on Monday, chances are I won’t want to hang out with you on Tuesday, and maybe not all week long. It’s not that I don’t like you or want to hang out again sometime, but I really need some time to recover from social settings.
- I’m not lonely. In fact, I get my energy from being alone. I actually like it. I might be sitting alone, but it’s not because I’m sad. It’s not even because I’m scared of making friends. It’s because I actually like being alone. Every week at church I try to find a place where I can sit in solitude. Many people will try to come sit by me so that I’m not by myself, thinking that they are doing me a great favor of inclusion. The sentiment is thoughtful, but not necessary.
I know to the extroverts of the world, this is totally unthinkable. Most of my friends are, surprisingly, extroverts and have had to deal with me turning down many a play-date because I just couldn’t mentally handle the social interaction that day. To all you introverts out there: I get you. I understand you. You aren’t weird to me. You aren’t broken. You can sit by yourself over there and I won’t judge you because I’m sitting over here by myself, too.